Monthly Archives: February 2012

Palm Tree on Kauai East Shore

Like a Natural Spring

Kapaa, Kauai

Palm trees are built to feather the wind. In a hurricane they absorb the wind’s energy like a natural spring, releasing it between gusts. In a light breeze each grassy leaf acts independently, cupping and then quickly spilling the wind by pivoting slightly. The effect is to make every puff of the air flowing through the tree distinctly visible, while transmitting almost no energy to the trunk, having little in the way of a rigid branch system to do so anyway. Brilliant.

This morning I watched a mother sandpiper and her two chicks hunt for insects in the sand and dried leaves at this tree’s base. It was as tender a domestic scene as any family outing by any other species.

Woke up this morning hearing magpies calling to each other outside my window. Wikipedia says they are fiercely territorial and very smart. in fact they are the only animal that recognizes itself in a mirror. I’d love to know what a magpie uses this skill for. It seems to be a hardship to most humans.

The Pain of Being a Man

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

–Samuel Johnson